Signs & Signifiers

Album Review of Signs & Signifiers by JD McPherson.

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Signs & Signifiers

JD McPherson

Signs & Signifiers by JD McPherson

Release Date: Apr 17, 2012
Record label: Rounder
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Retro-Rock

90 Music Critic Score
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Signs & Signifiers - Excellent, Based on 3 Critics

Rolling Stone - 100
Based on rating 5/5

JD McPherson conjures the sound of Fifties-style rock & roll so lovingly that you can practically see Sam Phillips grinning from the control room while McPherson howls away in the studio. When he wasn't busy teaching art at a Tulsa middle school, the former punk rocker cut Signs & Signifiers using vintage mics, stand-up bass and slap-back echo for a sound that recalls raw mid-Fifties Sun Records hits – Elvis Presley, Charlie Feathers – as well as pre-rock R&B stars like Big Joe Turner. McPherson may sound like a purist, but he's a sharp songwriter, and his punk spirit and wry wordplay make this more than just a time trip.

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AllMusic - 80
Based on rating 8/10

Singer/songwriter JD McPherson's 2010 debut album, Signs & Signifiers, is a rockin', bluesy, forward-thinking album that subtly breaks the conventions of most vintage rock projects. Produced and recorded with the retro expertise of bassist/guitarist Jimmy Sutton, the album is a gold mine of '50s-inspired rock and R&B, with some rockabilly twang thrown in for maximum effect. That said, McPherson actually draws from a wide and eclectic array of influences including Son House, Charlie Feathers, the Wu-Tang Clan, and sundry blues and soul artists from Guitar Slim to Sam Cooke.

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BBC Music
Their review was positive

A swinging debut set harbouring riffs and hooks which easily hop across the decades. Leonie Cooper 2012 To look at him, you wouldn’t suspect Oklahoma’s JD McPherson of being a former schoolteacher. In fact, you’d be more likely to guess that he was a freelance hot rod mechanic, fond of painstakingly applying equal amounts of grease in his hair and the engines of classic powder blue Buicks.McPherson’s debut solo album, though, will certainly be an education for some, drawing so heavily on retro rhythm and blues that you’d be forgiven for thinking it was actually a lost 1950s gem discovered by a crate-digging, vintage vinyl obsessive.

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